Its been a crazy couple of years for Sidney Crosby.
Through playoff battles won and lost, regular season injuries, an Olympic gold medal-winning goal, I don't have to paint you a picture of what the guy has accomplished so far in his ridiculously short hockey career.
However, I feel it is time that I address an issue, one fellow Penguins fans are all too well aware of. The majority of the hockey world seems to hate Sidney Crosby.
I was too young to watch Wayne Gretzky in his prime, or at least too young to care if he was getting booed out of every building he played in on the road, though I'm sure I could guarantee such was the case in Calgary. I remember Mario Lemieux being booed in Philadelphia, but come on, Jesus would suffer a similar fate if he showed up for a ceremonial puck drop sometime (he never will, he hates the Flyers).
But there is something different about the boos that rain down on Sidney Crosby. The rabid Crosby haters are fed by the media and the Internet, and for that, TSN, CBC, NBC, and the like are to blame.
Sid has been a media darling since the age of 16, and its progressively getting worse. The networks are fascinated with him. Like it or not, he's the face of the league, of the game even, and its a strategy that has turned most hockey fans outside of Pittsburgh into haters.
Though no fault of Crosby's, I can almost understand it.
Crosby's skate laces are broken! Crosby ate chicken for lunch! Crosby is trying to grow a beard! It's all Sid, all the time, but remember one thing: Crosby doesn't ask for this. He doesn't ask for the camera time. When he comes off the ice at the end of a game he was held pointless in and was a -2, he doesn't go up to Elliott Friedman and say "Hey, here I am, I was crap tonight, but interview me anyway, I'm Sidney F'n Crosby."
Then there is the "Sidney is a Whiner" thing. That is so 2007. Granted, Sid had problems containing some emotions on the ice, especially his first two seasons in the show. But answer me this: What NHLer doesn't?
He whines to the officials too much? Watch a Detroit Red Wings game. I am pretty sure that it says somewhere in the NHL rulebook that only players with a letter on their jersey can have a thorough discussion with officials on the ice—unless you play for Detroit, anyone seems to be able to do it there.
Anyone recall Darcy Tucker in his Toronto days? Every time there was a whistle, the camera panned to Tucker (for some reason) and showed him spewing venom at an official. My point is, Crosby isn't the first, and he won't be the last to complain about something that displeases him on the ice.
With Sid's performances in the last two games on the Montreal series, I'm seriously starting to wonder if the hate is getting to him. I know he's a professional and it is easy to say that he should just be able to shake it off. Two months ago, he was the toast of the country. He was Canada's hockey hero, right up there with Mario and Henderson. Hypocrite Sid haters across Canada had a sudden change of heart.
Come the playoffs, and once again boos and "Crosby Sucks!" chants pour down from the "fans" in Ottawa, and the actual fans in Montreal. All part of the gamesmanship I know. But I also know that if I was asked to captain my country's Olympic hockey team in 2014, I'd give those boos and chants a passing glance, smile, and prove everyone wrong again.